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Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey – What’s Behind the Numbers?

Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey
Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey 2022 Retrospective

Chartered Accountants ANZ has published its annual Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey results based on data collected from more than 7,700 members. We’ve distilled the main findings of the report for you in a 5-minute read while digging a little deeper into some of the issues driving the numbers.

If you’d like a ‘temperature gauge’ of what to expect in the year ahead, our blog insights are essential reading for anyone drawing a salary or recruiting in the accounting space.  

Let’s start with a look at the numbers. 

The report at a glance

  • Chartered accountants’ salaries increased by 11% to reach a median of $150,000 for full-time roles.
  • The highest average salary was seen in commercial roles within a company finance team, rising to $180,553 in Australia. The next highest median salary of $166,282 was earned in not-for-profit accounting and finance roles followed by government accountants at $150,401 and public practice roles at $115,500. 
  • The pattern was the same in New Zealand with commerce accountants earning top dollar ($160,500), followed by not-for-profit ($136,818), government ($127,430) and public practice ($103,000) roles. 
  • Full-time workers earned $150,000 compared to part-timers at $110,000 in Australia, and $135,780 and $93,477 respectively in New Zealand. 
  • The position of Chief Financial Officer in Australia commanded the highest median salary of $272,405 with a tax consultant earning the least at $81,645. In New Zealand, the position of General Manager took top spot at $246,600 and the lowest was junior to mid accountant positions at $78,251.  

What’s behind the numbers?

In a phrase – the skills shortage. The 11% rise in median pay in the last 12 months reflects the lengths to which recruiters are willing to go to attract the talent they need in a space where there are more vacancies than accountants to fill them.   

Even in a tough economy, with most experts agreeing the skills shortage will get much worse before it gets better, rising median salaries is a trend we expect to see continue in the next 12 months. 

Chartered Accountants ANZ CEO Ainslie van Onselen told The Australian Financial Review that employers were offering accountants higher salaries to secure their skills in a highly competitive job market. “Conditions are expected to remain tight,” she said. “There are more accounting jobs than ever and that’s expected to increase in coming years.” 

The gender pay gap

While the gender wage gap is an issue in most industries, the 24% pay gap for chartered accountants is 1.2% above the national across-jobs average. Unsurprisingly, the survey notes that 72% of women believe the shortfall still existed, compared to just 31% of men. 

Of those surveyed, most agreed that the best way to decrease the gap was to increase opportunities for women to reach senior leadership roles, followed by more transparency and analysis around salary differences and better flexibility. 

The career break

Another aspect that separated chartered accountants along gender lines was the number of accountants who’d taken career breaks and their reasons. 

  • 21% of male accountants took career breaks compared to 52% of women. 
  • 51% of men said they’d used this time to travel but only 10% of women had done the same. 
  • 75% of women said their reason for taking time away from their careers was parental leave compared to 20% of men. 
  • 20% of women surveyed said career breaks had a “severe impact” on their career and 43% noted they’d had “some impact” – in stark contrast to 60% of men who said their breaks had “no impact” on their careers. 

The data suggests that women are still responsible for most of the parenting duties, often to the detriment of their careers because more time away and less experience tends to translate to non-senior roles and lower pay for women. 

What matters most to accountants

The survey measures more than accountants’ salaries. Other factors like job flexibility and doing meaningful work are effective ways to attract talent for smaller firms that can’t compete with large companies on salary alone. 

The top six factors accountants value beyond remuneration are: 

  1. Flexible workplace options (73%) 
  2. The quality of the leadership (64%) 
  3. Doing meaningful work (62%) 
  4. Being paid fairly for the work I do (56%) 
  5. My values align to organisation purpose and culture (53%) 
  6. Learning and development (52%) 

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If you’d like to beat the skills shortage and scale efficiently in every phase of your business cycle with the help of highly skilled outsourced accountants, book a free strategy call with us today. 

You can access the full Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey here.